IndustryMeets… Ogi, R&B’s Latest Sensation [Interview]

Ogi is an alternative R&B artist who is accelerating through the music industry, bringing music to our ears and capturing our attention as she goes. Already this year, Ogi was supporting the indie-pop band, The Marías, on their North American tour where she lit up the stage with her beauty, her aesthetic, good vibes, and her voice. She confirms that this was her first-time touring, describing, “It’s fun. I got to bring my music director and guitarist Jacob Galdes. We went to school together, like he is a few years younger than me. He’s an incredible guitarist and he was just learning to be a music director.” Ogi explains that there was a quick turnaround but he “killed it” and in addition, that “the Marías were such warm hosts to us […] watching their shows every night taught us about consistency and engaging with the crowd. A really cool experience, we love the Marías.”

When asked about specific highlights, Ogi mentioned a performance at the Brooklyn Steel in New York where they finally felt like “we can do this”. Ogi continues, “It was really the first time I heard people respond to my music in real-time. It’s always a gamble when you are in the studio, especially since this is my first project ever. During the pandemic, I had no gage whether people will like it, whether people who don’t know me will like it.”  

A profound saying that Ogi heard whilst working with Dion “No ID” Wilson was “Music is a service. I think that perspective, especially during touring has informed me that I’m here to give a show and give an experience. I try to keep that in mind before I go on stage.” 

As part of the tour highlights, she describes the blue dress that her stylist Jackie chose. “The profile of it is so interesting.” I completely agree that this dress is iconic and when asked for more details about this amazing dress, she shares that it actually had two skirts to create the “interesting silhouette” which is something Ogi wishes to explore more in her style in the coming years. On top of this, she has been learning to do her own makeup, seemingly displaying this artist as someone who is perfecting her craft and brand simultaneously to solidify who she is within the music industry.

Ogi had a really interesting start to her music career, graduating “right into the pandemic” when her original plan was law school. She states, “This whole music career for me, was not the plan, at all. So, I think during that time, I was still like did I choose the exact wrong career at the exact wrong time?” Yet, she notes, “But I think during that process I learnt that this is such a privilege to do this. I get to play around with the sound for a career and I cannot take that for granted.”

Ogi’s debut single I Got It gathered a lot of attention, with over 128,000 listens on Spotify, and was featured on UPBROXX’s ‘All the Best New R&B From This Week That You Need to Hear’ which is brilliant for this new artist. The music video that accompanies the release is epic and there is more than one outfit featured that I wouldn’t mind borrowing. UPBROXX describes the release as balancing “confidence and soul for an ear-pleasing debut”. Ogi informs them her music “represents me coming into myself and not being afraid of saying things I wish I said to other people” – A good message to aspire to follow. 

When asked what the process for I Got It involved, Ogi says, “A lot of the songs that I have started out as Garage Band demos. That one, in particular, was interesting because I came up with it as a joke. I and my siblings have very different tastes in music. My litter brother and sister are very into heavy rap music, and they will search through Soundcloud to find the new artists and catch them before they rise – that’s how deep they are into it. Whereas I’m a bit more I guess, eclectic as I will listen to lots of other different things. So that song kind of came about when I was like, oh, what if I made a song that my siblings would like.” She continues to explain that since she did acapella in college, she was able to layer herself in the Garage Band demo to see how the rhythm would go.

Despite what she refers to as “objectively weird lines,” when she showed the track to No. I.D he told her, “This is a hit.” She honestly reveals that “it took me a while to even be comfortable playing this song to other people because it felt so not me”, but as she has grown more confident in the industry, she sees it as coming from a place within her. 

I was lucky enough to catch Ogi the day of one of her showcases in New York at the Public Hotel which she said, “I’m excited, I’m gonna be performing more songs than I ever have at one go so the sets that I’ve been having with Snoh and the Marías were like fifteen-twenty minutes” whereas her own showcase will last around half an hour, meaning she has the opportunity to do more songs within that time. Speaking from a humble place she states, “It doesn’t make sense that I’m doing this right now and I think that’s not lost on me so I’m pretty grateful”, she continues with, “this has been super cool and beyond what I could’ve thought my life could be right now.”

Now, her debut into the music industry is on its next stage as Ogi is currently joining Snoh Aalegra to support the ‘Ugh, These Temporary Highs Tour’. Her favourite food to snack on whilst touring is “A good Clif bar, white chocolate macadamia”, informing that “sometimes eating on tour is inconsistent” so these can mean a lot. A good snack tip for anyone about to go on tour. 

She clarifies how the opportunity arose by stating “Snoh and I are actually on the same imprint that No ID has called Artium. Snoh has taken the principle of helping the people behind her have a platform and a stage. Snoh was so generous in giving me the opportunity” which we found out was confirmed even before Ogi’s tour with the Marías and before Ogi had even released any songs. Showing that sometimes generosity and a little faith can go a very long way.

Despite all these amazing touring opportunities, Ogi has still had time to release yet another new single. Envy is what Ogi describes as “a personal love letter to haters in my life, […] telling them it’s not my fault that you want what I have, don’t be mad at me.” She wishes to explore another side of her personality through this release, and it is once again showcases her talent with a steady accompaniment and a relaxing melody.

She tells us more about the process, concluding, “that song actually started from the same place of like a Garage Band demo.” Ogi also discusses, “it was interesting in seeing Dion’s process and enlisting the different instrumentalists on it” claiming, “Dammo Farmer changed that song for the better. He’s an incredible bassist, and it was so nice to learn about what that collaboration means when it comes to being a producer”. Ogi then proceeds to say, “that’s something I would want to do, later. I’d like to bring my people and to do the same.” She shares that it was so nice to see Dammo work on it, Steve Wyreman whose an “incredible” guitarist and James Poyser who did the strings come together in collaboration.  

Another look into the future, I asked, what is next for Ogi to which she responded, “working on the next thing. I definitely got my toes wet with the tour and with that, there have been a lot more ideas for songs that have come to me. I’m really excited to sit down and figure out what the next thing is. Experiences change people and change their frame of reference which will obviously change the type of music they create so I’m excited to see what comes next for me, artistically”. In addition to this, Ogi looks for consistency in the coming years, to “have a chance to create a schedule for myself”, she clarifies, “something for myself to anchor me as things change around me. Especially with music and recording, I want to be better and that takes practice and constant effort.”

It is clear to see how hard-working and talented Ogi is and in such a short amount of time has done incredibly well to explore this new career prospect to its fullest. We cannot wait to follow what I’m sure will be an incredibly interesting journey. 

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